Breaking Bad’s Top 5 Episodes

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Breaking Bad’s Top 5 Episodes

Ian Garvey, Content Cop

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Breaking Bad aired on AMC from January 2008 to September of 2013, and quickly became hailed as on the best shows on television. From the captivating characters, plot devices used by the writers, and the outstanding direction, the show broke new grounds in how a story can be told. And with the upcoming Breaking Bad movie, which is rumored to star fan-favorite Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, you are sure to be headed to your favorite streaming service to rewatch the award winning series. Here are the top 5 episodes of Breaking Bad, and some interesting details to look out for in each of these episodes.

 

  1. Felina Aired September 29th, 2013

With Breaking Bad hailed as one of the greatest shows of all time, one must wonder to themselves how the finale would finish things off. The answer? Near-perfectly. To start, the finale is entitled “Felina”, but not because that is the spanish word for “finale”. It is a clever reference to a song played in the episode named El Paso, where a cowboy desires to return to his love. This fits perfectly with the theme of the episode, because Walter says his final goodbyes to Skyler and his infant child, knowing very well that he will never see them again. Throughout the course of the episode, a variety of events occur, that are all linked to Walter tying up loose ends. He makes sure that Walter Jr. will receive the cash he intended him to get from the beginning, gets his revenge on Jesse’s captors, and even has a small moment with Jesse before he ultimately dies. The episode also makes sure to include bits of hope, so that the viewer knows there may be a future for Skyler, Jesse, and Walter Jr. To finish things off beautifully, the last moments of the series end on Walter surrounded by glorious lab equipment, and Baby Blue (a reference to methamphetamine) plays over Walter staring at his reflection before he dies. The song selections in this episode, combined with attention to the wrapping up the plot, make this my number 5 choice.

  1. Salud Aired September 18th, 2011

Throughout season 4 of Breaking Bad the main antagonist is Gustavo Fring, an evil boss turned enemy of Walter White’s. However, the show writers and directors do an amazing job making you care about him, even if it is just for one episode. Earlier in season 4, some much needed backstory is given to the viewer on Gus, showing us why he is very much against a partnership with the Cartel. That backstory depicts Gus’s best friend, Max, being killed by Don Eladio’s poolside. Don Eladio, the leader of the Cartel, is the one who is ultimately behind this murder, and Gus holds him responsible for the death of his best friend. “Salud” starts by showing Jesse learning how to run his own meth lab in Mexico, as part of a trade agreement between Gus and Don Eladio. Jesse, nervous about being left alone in Mexico without protection, confronts Gus about what his plan is. Gus remains silent the entire episode, until the very moment that gives this episode the number 4 spot. In a toast Don Eladio holds with Gus at his poolside, the entire Cartel leadership, and Gus, drink to a partnership. They all shout “Salud!” and down a shot of very expensive tequila. Gus then excuses himself to regurgitate the tequila, as it is revealed only moments later that it was poisoned! The entirety of Cartel leadership is then killed off, and Gus watches as Don Eladio tries to hold onto his life. Gus, Jesse, and Mike then escape. This episode is one of the only times I can think of where I actually rooted for a villain to win. That is a feat on its own. Combine this with the amazing direction, and build-up/pacing to “Salud!”, this episode is jaw-dropping.

  1. Face Off Aired October 9th, 2011

“Face Off” is an episode built around satisfaction. There’s nothing quite like watching a villain lose. After watching Gus and Walter battle all through season 4, the final duel of wits comes down to Walter turning Gus’s one weak spot against him. That weak spot: Hector Salamanca. The episode starts with Walter finally bringing Jesse back to his side, but not before taking drastic measures to do so. Those measures included Walter poisoning the child of Jesse’s ex-girlfriend. Walter then proceeded to convince Jesse that Gus had done it, and ultimately it swayed Jesse back to Walter’s side. With Jesse back on board, Walter went straight to questioning him on things that Gus always did or seemed emotionally connected too. Jesse told him that Gus visited a man in a retirement home, Hector Salamanca, quite frequently. That man was no stranger to Walter or Jesse however, as they had a run-in with him much earlier when he held them hostage in his home. Hector definitely did not like Walter, but hated Gus much more. Gus tormented Hector, visiting him weekly to brag about killing Cartel members, and updated him on the Cartel’s failings. That hate was why Hector decided to work with Walter on taking out Gus for good. Hector allowed Walter to plant a bomb beneath his wheelchair, which he then detonated when Gus came to visit him. Ouch. “Face Off” in this episode literally has two meanings. The satisfaction the viewer feels when Walter finally wins is amazing, much better than what I have experienced viewing other shows. For this, I give away the number 3 slot.

The following video is graphic, watch at your own convenience.

  1. Crawl Space Aired September 25th, 2011

This episode claims the number 2 spot, solely for the last 5 minutes. Chronologically, this episode is before Gus is defeated but after Gus has killed off Cartel leadership. At this point in time, Walter is still in a state of worry. He knows that Gus is going to kill him, come after his family, and never reunite with Jesse. With all the events of the season mounting, the episode gets to a point where Walter decides he has to take what money he has earned, and run away with his family. Throughout the series, he has repeatedly vowed never to put his family in danger, and now when his family is in danger, and the weight of the awful decisions he has made finally come down on him, he comes to find that Skyler has spent all the money on Ted. There is a chilling shot of Walter down in his Crawl Space, where his half a million dollars was, laughing. This is the point when Walter officially crosses over into Heisenberg territory. He becomes the villain in this instant. He is no longer the desperate high school chemistry teacher trying to earn money for his family, but rather someone who wants to cause other people harm. The way this scene is shot, and acted, is so perfect. It perfectly en-captures what true panic feels and looks like. It really makes you think about how far Walter has come throughout the series, and how he has evolved into what he feared, a deranged drug dealer.

  1. Ozymandias Aired September 13th, 2013

This is without a doubt, the greatest episode of any show ever. “Ozymandias” is a roller-coaster of emotions, drama, and action from the very start. This is the point in time when Walter’s empire finally comes tumbling down, hard. We open on shots ringing out, then abruptly stopping, signaling the end of the fight started in the previous episode. We find Hank wounded and surrounded by Uncle Jack’s crew. Walter is helpless, he can’t do or say anything to dissuade Uncle Jack from killing Hank. Bang! Just like that, Walter’s actions over the past several years have finally caught up with him. The first of many consequences is the death of his brother-in-law. Next, we watch in horror as Walter blames Jesse for bringing Hank to the site, and Walter ultimately lets Uncle Jack take Jesse as a slave/hostage. The rest of the season (for the most part) would feature Jesse locked up in a cage at Uncle Jack’s base. Uncle Jack then proceeds to spare Walter, and takes nearly all of his hard earned blood-money. Walter is then left in the desert with two barrels of money, and no car. Walter has to walk several miles, and buys a car. After that, he goes home in a last ditch attempt to sway his family to leave town with him. However, things go awry and Skyler finally decides she has had enough. Walter then proceeds to attack Skyler, and a fight breaks out. Walter Jr. comes out and sees only Walter holding a knife to Skyler. At that moment he is no longer the “family man” he always preached being. Walter Jr. proceeds to call 911 on his father, and the family watches in horror as Walter grabs his infant child, and runs out of the house. Cut to a shot of Skyler crying in the middle of the road, pleading and begging him to come back, but we only see Walter driving away. Truly a chilling scene. We later learn that this was done by Walter to try and get Skyler off the hook with the police, but he is nonetheless an outcast from his own family. In this episode we see the consequences Walter has to face for his actions. It is the first time he can’t come up with some clever solution, and he has exhausted all of his solutions. He is out of money, and out of his own family. The original point of his “mission” is now void, and meaningless. The episode ends with Walter telling Marie, Skyler, and Walter Jr. over the phone that Hank is dead. Truly shocking. The writing, direction, and suspense featured here are amazing, unlike anything I have ever watched before (and all done in an hour!). But without the amazing work of Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and RJ Mitte, this episode would never have come together like it did. They did such an outstanding job portraying these complex emotions, and really making the viewer care about the severity of the situation. Breathtaking.